By CSU Global - September 12th, 2018
The growing field of project management provides professionals with exciting, dynamic career opportunities. This field combines technical and organizational skills with sought-after soft skills and creativity, and, best of all, project managers can work in almost any industry. With a multitude of degree paths to choose from and a wide variety of fields in which to work, project management is an attractive option for those interested in making a positive impact on businesses’ bottom lines.
Degrees and Career Outlook
Students can earn project management degrees at the undergraduate or graduate level. Bachelor’s degrees in project management are valuable and allow students to begin working on skills related to their chosen career as soon as they begin classes, which opens the door to job opportunities in the field of project management right after graduation.
Degrees awarded at the graduate level are highly specialized and include degrees like Master of Project Management.
After earning a degree, aspiring project managers can apply for certification through the Project Management Institute, or PMI.
No matter your educational path, the outlook for project management jobs is bright: according to research done by the PMI, employers will fill 2.2 million project-oriented jobs per year through 2027.
Companies are looking for effective and efficient workers to help complete projects – and they’re willing to pay for excellence. According to Glassdoor.com, project managers can expect to make $80,854 a year on average.
Why Do Companies Need Project Managers?
Project management can bring together teams from varying backgrounds and skill sets, so individuals tasked with leading teams must be excellent communicators and leaders.
Since only 33 percent of all projects are completed on time and on budget, having a reliable, professional individual at the helm of project management is an all-out necessity. In fact, for every $1 billion spent on project management in the United States, $122 million of it is wasted on poor project management decisions.
On the Horizon
Project management is far from a static industry – it changes, grows, and adapts to cultural and technological shifts. For example, in coming years, the Agile development framework will take hold as an indispensable tool for project managers. Studies show that this framework improves communication and makes teams more adaptable to change. What does this mean? Spreadsheets may finally meet their demise, and the anticipated increased level of effective communication translates to more projects being completed on time and on (or under) budget.
Furthermore, diversity in the field will continue to be a hot topic. The Information Technology world was shaken up by a now-infamous memo penned by a Google employee that argued women were neither interested in nor capable of being successful in STEM fields. This means that project managers, who work with wide varieties of people, will be faced with increased attention on diversity and inclusiveness. This positive shift will allow for sometimes underrepresented groups, especially in tech and leadership, to step forward and make a real impact.
Lastly, millennials will start to enter project management roles in full force. While millennials have earned project management degrees over the past years, they have now accrued enough work experience to successfully obtain higher-level positions in project management.
With this shift in leadership, expect to see project management that leverages social and digital communication tools to achieve goals and communicate with team members. Further, traditional elements of interaction and hierarchy in professional settings, like direct bosses and yearly reviews, may be replaced by “coach” mindsets and ongoing conversations.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence
One last change to look out for in the field of project management: AI integration. Project managers already use communication and planning software to achieve their goals, and as AI advances, so too will automation in this industry.
Don’t start shopping around for other degree programs yet, though: AI can help this field in a meaningful way. Since a third of projects fail because of poor communication, technology that helps optimize communication can only help.
A full 73 percent of US workers believe that artificial intelligence can never truly replace the human mind. And as we get deeper into the digitally focused 21st century, soft skills like leadership and communication become more important than ever.
Project management as a field is growing and changing. Now more than ever, companies are looking to hire highly competent individuals to carry out and manage diverse teams. With this field’s projected growth through the next decade, individuals will see a meaningful return on investment by pursuing a degree in project management.
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